La Villa Contenta
The Main Villa
Elegant stairs lead to the 2-story hand-carved limestone entry, which opens into a foyer whose floor is hand-laid pietra-dura mosaic made from antique, reclaimed marbles. On the wall hangs a museum-quality carved mirror by Thomas Chipendale, which reflects a 2,500-year-old lionās head sculpture, found at the base of Mount Vesuvius.
Straight ahead is a double living-room, paneled in pale maple, and furnished impeccably with rare yet comfortable antiques and contemporary pieces. Off the living rooms is a long, private covered loggia over-looking an emerald lawn with the Pacific below ā an outdoor living room which evokes the feeling of a villa in Capri, Italy.
La Villa Contentaās main level also includes a dining room, library, family room/kitchen, and 2 powder bathrooms. The dining room comfortably seats 24 for dinner. The ceiling is intricately hand-carved from French limestone, and the room is appointed with George III furniture, and completed by a working fireplace. The room is made especially romantic as it is illuminated only by candle-light from its twin 18th-century chandeliers of amethyst and rock crystal.
The library, with a gothic groined ceiling and HermĆ©s marble fireplace, invites visitors to settle down to read or engage in conversation. Flooded with sunlight through French doors that lead to the garden the room has a private bathroom, and could make an ideal office.
The kitchen is more rustic that the rest of the home, the kitchen is ideally-suited either for a private chef or for an enthusiastic home cook. With 18th century reclaimed floors and a stone fireplace, the room is a cozy place for friends and family to gather, on stools at the counter, in either of its seating areas, or in the solarium which has a dining table that seats 10.
The lower level which houses the billiards room, wine cellar, screening room and gym, can be accessed by either of 2 staircases or an elevator. The billiards room is paneled in English pine and bamboo, inset with rare paintings of Cates-inspired birds and foliage, and has a wet bar. The wine cellar, with its barrel-vaulted ceilings, has capacity to hold several thousand bottles. Through mirrored double doors lies a large, comfortably-furnished media room with a 14-foot screen. This level is completed by a fully-equipped gym, powder bathroom and laundry room.
On the upper floor is a master suite with fireplace, a very large private terrace over-looking the Pacific, and his-and-her bathrooms and closets. There are 3 additional bedrooms on this level ā each with its own en-suite bathroom.
There is no lack of opportunity for activity or leisure on the grounds of La Villa Contenta. With countless secret gardens and seating areas, there are dozens of places to relax, read or entertain al fresco. Populated with hundreds of priceless specimen trees and rare plantings, the grounds are nothing short of awe-inspiring, with a diversity of landscapes including acres of manicured lawn, an exotic desert garden and a truly extraordinary rose garden which boasts over 1,000 rose bushes.
The outdoor āinfinityā swimming pool is 25 meters in length and is entirely chlorine-free (it utilizes saline and ozone instead). The elegant double staircase leading to the pool area is bordered with rare agave plants and espalier figs. The travertine pool deck is ideal for intimate lounging and can also accommodate several hundred people for a grand party. The pool area also contains a state-of-the-art Viking kitchen with everything a home cook or a professional caterer could need.
The championship north-south facing tennis court is concealed by beautiful planting that cover its four walls, and it has a viewing deck so guests can relax and watch the game.
The kitchen garden, entirely organic and planted with a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, herbs and cutting plants, is bountiful year-long. Down a hidden pathway, this secluded area containing 6 raised beds also has a charming sitting area and an arresting view of the Pacific.
The Pool Pavilion
Perhaps one of the most beautiful buildings in America, this ānatatoriumā is inspired by grand European follies. Constructed of carved marble, the building is Romanesque in design, with a spectacular frieze over the doorway. The doors give way to a true āunderwaterā baroque fantasy comprised of about a million seashells. The pietra-dura entry hall is flanked by two elegant changing rooms ā one for ladies (āVenusā) and the other for gentlemen (āNeptuneā), each paneled in rare onyx and adorned with shells, with comfortable lounge areas, large steam showers and every amenity imaginable.
Tiled in Murano glass, the lap pool is equipped with swim jets to create the perfect, indoor swimming environment. But much more apparent is the beauty of the room itself ā it is so ornate and remarkable that it is hard to imagine that it was built for swimming, rather than pure aesthetic enjoyment. With glass ceilings over 20-feet high, the room is a vision of fantastical marine life, with a hand-painted gesso mural, panels of intricate seashells and mirrored stars, outrageous shell-encrusted chandeliers resembling octopi and a massive golden onyx fireplace.
Through doors on one side lies a covered loggia adorned with hand-painted, whimsical sea-creatures, overlooking the outdoor swimming pool. On the other side is a sun-filled patio that sits next to a vast lawn area, suitable for soccer matches, croquet and glamorous picnics. Inside, mirrored doors lead to a catering kitchen and utility room containing sound and laundry equipment.
One of the largest private greenhouses in California, this glass and steel structure was designed to accommodate several thousand orchids and other delicate exotics. Two areas, separated by doors, created distinct growing environments for the true horticulturalist.
An outstanding desert garden with rare cacti and other specimen plantings lies between the Pool Pavilion and the Greenhouse, and the two buildings are connected by a very special walkway of travertine slabs āfloatingā on water.
The Guest House/Office
Currently used as an office, there is another large building on the property which could otherwise be used as a 6-bedroom house. With walls of polished green Venetian marble walls and Baccarat and Murano chandeliers, this is a fresh, lovely house with its own kitchen, laundry, parking area and staff quarters.
The Guest Suite
Hidden in a grove of ferns and other lush plants, lies a charming one-bedroom guest suite. Furnished in soothing tones and organic materials, this is the perfect āzenā getaway.
There are ample bedrooms and amenities for staff and security detail, with separate entrances to create maximum privacy.